Sunday, April 08, 2012

Supersized Southern

What a great day for a ride. A little warm by the time this afternoon rolled around but the morning was near perfect riding weather.

As is my usual choice when I want a decent ride I headed off this morning to the border ranges area with no firm route in mind.

Lovely quick run down the M1, not much traffic at all. People still tell me they cannot stand to ride down the M1 but to put it quite frankly - it’s a piece of piss. If your sports bike or café racer is so uncomfortable you cannot ride a freeway for 40 minutes then gotta ask yourself is your bike actually more impractical than those Harley’s with zero ground clearance you most probably poke fun at? Anyway I digress.

After refuelling I walked into Hungry Jacks (Burger King for readers outside Aus)at Robina (adjacent to Shell) then after being ignored by service staff got thinking what am I doing – the coffee here will no doubt be rubbish so turned and walked out and decided to route the first part of my ride around going somewhere to have a good coffee.

P4080482

Riding over Currumbin valley (above) I was flashed by oncoming car driving locals yet again. Pretty much have been flashed every ride there of late. Seems they have the idea to flash motorcycle riders to make us think there is a radar trap or something. Alas folks it has really got boring so I’m not paying any attention to you anymore Smile

I had an idea to ride to the Tweed Valley Art Gallery for a coffee but somehow forgot this as I got into a nice riding rhythm and rode past Baker Road on to Uki then via Stokers siding to the base of Burringbah range (below) having so much fun before realizing. Anyway it was still only early so I decided to ride on to Clunes for a brunch stop instead.

Hmm seems to be a S bend road photo theme happening today.

P4080487

A lot of oncoming traffic on Coolamon Scenic drive, sometimes half on my side of road mid corner but I am so used to it that I no longer bat an eyelid. I have a laugh when recalling I not far back overtook lumbering 4 wheel drive , hehe the same idiots are going to be white knuckle as they meet that big bullbar mid corner Smile. Still not sure how people find it so difficult to stay on their side of road – it’s kinda driving 101 in my mind.

Rather than ride straight on via Federal I took the Goonengerry road and this has had some road resurfacing and the bridge has been replaced as well. I had forgotten how good this road was to ride, do go down there some time, just be aware of two or three tight decreasing radius bends as you exit the forested part of road. After this I then took Repentance Creek road, another one I often forget and despite it flowing better in the reverse it was also a lot of fun today.

Well Clunes Café was closed and possibly for good by looks. I am sad but not surprised as last two times I tried to be a customer there they were either not serving food or not serving coffee so proof even when you have no competition you can drive a business into the ground. I guess I need to find a new turnaround point on that route for future.

It was still only 10.30 so I decided to supersize todays ride. I rode over to Nimbin via Dunoon and The Channon and then back to Uki. The road out of Nimbin has mostly been resurfaced and is much better than the poor state it had been in last few years. Alas Turntable creek road to Nimbin is rather poor still in parts despite some resurfacing closer to Nimbin.

P4080488

I eventually got that coffee, 3 hours after I left Hungry Jacks at the Uki Café. I often stop at the Uki Pub in summer but today was not in the mood so went to the nearby Uki Café just a bit north in the village proper, on your right if coming from the south, slightly elevated. What a great move this was, the food was really fresh and tasty, the coffee was the best I have had in the whole region as was service from the friendly people. I’ll be back for more!

P4080489

I think these (below) were rented somewhere? – much cooler than a scooter IMO.

P4080491

P4080492

A lot of 4 wheel drives loaded up for Easter camping about on the roads around Nimbin and later in Numinbah valley. As usual someone in a off roader always wants to play the ‘race game’ with me the motorcycle rider. You probably know the scenario, it goes like this: (warning me having silly rant next 3 paragraphs)

Bubba in the lumbering 3 tonne off roader sees motorcycle arrive rapidly behind him poised to pass at next clearing. Bubba then lifts his speed dramatically and is thinking; you just try and pass me biker Joe, my turbo diesel will show you who is boss. Meanwhile biker Joe, who calls driver William, is thinking; whoa there Billy  your rig is going way too fast for that bend coming up, reckon I will ease away from this potential train wreck. Meanwhile Bubba is glued to rear view mirror until wifey yells Slow down! The corner! The off roader squeals around bend running very wide into other lane and Bubba being told off by wifey slows down and biker Joe then zaps past shaking his head. Bubba meanwhile is thinking; if I was alone then that biker would not have got past me before returning to saying; yes dear of course dear to wifey who is still chastising him.

This game in some variation happens most every ride I am out on. I have seen drivers lift a rear wheel off ground round a corner on a Landcruiser down a mountain range with wife and two small children on board (or run clean off the road) just to try stop me passing them. Driving in middle of road is another tactic on the straights, swerving side to side to block passing – just like in the movies. I just don’t know why you would bother? – I wave past me any bike or car I see behind that is remotely closing on me so I can go back to just enjoying my ride.

So today’s version went like this. Toyota turbo Landcruiser hauling one of those ‘off road’ high ground clearance caravans on Blue Knob road out of Nimbin, I arrive behind and the ‘race game’ begins as driver speeds up from about 75kph up to 120+kph. The van is then swerving  all over BOTH lanes of a narrow forest road and driver is fighting to keep control – m.u.s.t n.o.t l.e.t m.o.t.o.r.c.y.c.l.e g.e.t p.a.s.t m.e ! I guess wifey must have been screaming or he realised about to have caravan whip the car sideways into a tree cause he slowed very sharply and now lives to play the race game with other motorcycles another day.

P4080495

I am trying to use my Shark RSR2 Carbon yet again. Besides the slightly oversized cheek cushions it is otherwise a good helmet, very light and quiet. The lightly tinted visor I have for it works very well on much of todays forest covered roads from Autumn through to Spring when the angle of the sun seems to not penetrate the tree canopy leaving you riding in shadows. It is not possible to see the road surface clearly with a regular dark tinted visor or sunglasses and many corners on the back roads in northern NSW have loose material thus not much fun if you cannot see the clean line through every corner. I have had a towel stuffed inside it to compress the pads to try reduce the cheek pad pressure when worn, seems to have softened it a bit so will keep doing and tell you how it works out.   

Big ride today – the route is here

Monday, April 02, 2012

Spyder premium shorty gloves

 

P4020478

I picked these up some time ago in South East Asia and was told the brand would be available in Australia soon.

A mixture of textile and soft leather, with the usual reinforced areas and small portion of carbon fiber. Generally similar in style and construction to many other shorty style summer gloves.

Much more comfortable then my Dainese Guanto X-ILE gloves the stitching does not rub your fingers and the gloves are more soft and pliable despite less use.

They are shorter in length than any other summer style glove I have owned, this may suit some but I would have preferred a touch more length however this certainly will allow air go into your jacket sleeves with ease.

Overall comfort and venting is high and they are holding up well so far. If they appear here then for reference they were about $20 overseas (the dearest gloves in their range on the rack) so should be available online for about same or retail locally for 3 to 4 times that.

As usual will update in about a year on how they go long term.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Endless Summer

I was starting to think we were having an endless summer this year (albeit a wet one) as today is the first day of April and yet the forecast was for 30 degrees in western suburbs and 28 on the coast. Well time for mother nature to catch me out for 2012, it just reached 26 mid afternoon and all morning was a very Autumn low 20’s. Guess who left home in his summer jacket thinking it was going to be hot.

Despite the chill at times on upper body it was bearable as was a little bit of rain encounter later in day.

A bit of a variation to my usual routes, today I turned off M1 at Stapelton (but kept clear of the nearby busy BP service centre) and followed Stanmore road to the Beaudesert–Beenleigh road for a nice run out to Mt Tamborine. They continue to work on the road that ascends Mt Tamborine from that side, there are a few good corners in what is a very short climb. Many motorcycles out up there and upon arriving in Canungra probably 100+ motorcycles in the main street near Outpost café – they must be pleased with all the custom from the riders. Too early in the day for me to think about stopping.

P4010464

P4010466

Riding over Mt Lindsey I was thinking about an post made by a fellow blogger who asked what makes the perfect road. I think I made some drunken comment on her blog about the right radius of the curves. This came back to me today as I approached one of the two corners on the Mt Lindsey road that to me are near perfect corners.  They are not able to be captured in a photo but are conservatively  sign posted as 30kph and 40kph left hand corners (travelling south) before reaching the border. You cannot see through them so can not know where the apex is but this won’t bother you as neither are a decreasing or increasing radius, both are a nice constant radius and when banked over looking for the exit they seem to go on and on giving you a lot of that gravity defy feeling. I can ride to there just to experience those corners and arrive home happy.

Below is part of a new alignment completed on the NSW side of Mt Lindsey road.

P4010470

However I went on to the next place on todays route where a couple of perfect radius corners exist, just west of Grevillia. These are a lot faster sweeping corners but again you will find a nice extended constant radius corner here to be enjoyed. I was surprised to see the Grevillia general store/café/servo was burnt down. Not sure what happened there but with Wiangaree not selling petrol anymore I was on reserve from there to Kyogle.

P4010471

You could see the rain in the distance by about Cawongla when riding the Kyogle-Uki road. By the time I reached Mt Burrell the roads had increasingly become wet and rain was spitting so I decided the clouds must be moving away from me to the border ranges so I stopped at the Sphinx Rock Café for lunch to let the rain move on.

P4010477

P4010476

Lunch was good and the plan worked as by the time I was moving again the rain had moved away to the west to cling to Mt Warning and the roads were mostly dry again leaving Uki. With many clouds moving about still I decided not to press my luck and made a bee line to the border and back via Numinbah valley. I decided to ride via Mt Nathan to Oxenford on this return rather than the M1 from Nerang. This detour has some nice riding actually but depends on how much energy you still have left if you will enjoy it or not coming home. The good thing about the M1 is that you can cover the ground back to Brisbane very quick with it’s 110kph limit and with very minimum effort if you are on a comfortable bike.

Todays route is here.